FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(LANSING)—Supporting efforts to bring statewide health care insurance to Michigan, along with opposing ongoing legislative efforts to decriminalize human cloning in the state top the Michigan Catholic Conference’s advocacy agenda for the 94th legislative session, the Conference announced today.
“Based on the Conference’s belief that health care is a fundamental human right, our advocacy efforts will include a focus on ensuring every resident of Michigan has access to basic health care insurance,” says Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “In addition, Michigan is ranked first in the nation in terms of legislation that protects the dignity of all human life—a designation the Conference will fight to maintain by ensuring that any effort to permit human cloning is defeated in the legislature.”
Senate Bill 52, which was introduced in the State Senate last week, seeks to eliminate the term “embryo” from state law and to decriminalize human cloning to permit the destruction and cloning of the human embryo for research purposes. The legislation also fails to address the ground breaking stem cell successes that have been achieved through umbilical cord blood and other locations in the human body. Michigan Catholic Conference has consistently supported the use of adult stem cells for research purposes and has praised its advancements as scientists and researchers regularly add to the number of diseases that are being cured and treated with adult stem cells.
“Based on the outcome of Missouri’s human cloning amendment, we are now witnessing national and statewide attitudes shifting away from blind support for empty promises in favor of ethical and proven means to assist and even cure those who suffer from disabling conditions,” says Long. “Michigan residents are horrified by the thought of cloning and destroying human embryos, and are showing increased support for and awareness of the gains that have been made with adult stem cells, most recently regarding amniotic fluid.”
The Conference’s advocacy agenda was approved in December by its Board of Directors and released through FOCUS, a periodic essay distributed to all Catholic parishes, schools, institutions and other locations and individuals across the state. Below is a detailed listing of additional public policy issues that are of interest to the Conference in the areas of Religious Freedom, Human Life, Children and Families, Education, and Economic Justice and Regulatory Policies:
- The rights of faith-based providers and all individuals to conscience protections in the delivery of services, and
- The equal application of the law to all persons and institutions regardless of their faith.
- Policies that promote and fund adult stem cell research,
- Legislation that protects the lives of unborn children,
- Regulations on human research to uphold the life and dignity of the human person,
- State initiatives that provide alternatives to abortion and assistance to pregnant women,
- Opposition to insurance regulations that mandate coverage for abortion or contraception,
- Upholding the ban on human cloning,
- Upholding the ban on assisted suicide, and
- Upholding the constitutional ban on the death penalty.
Children and Families
- Upholding the traditional definition of marriage and the family,
- Policies that protect the stability of the marriage bond and the institution of the family,
- Amending Michigan’s no-fault divorce laws, and
- Policies to streamline foster care services and payments to ensure critical services are provided to children in need.
- Expansion of health coverage for low-and moderate-income uninsured individuals and families,
- Opposition to legislation that threatens the institutional integrity of faith-based providers,
- The protection of Medicaid funding, and
- Reforming and enhancing the provision of health care services provided in Michigan prisons.
- Mandatory consultation between public school districts and the non-public schools located within their jurisdiction regarding the appropriate distribution of federal program dollars,
- Protection of existing public school choice for all parents,
- Protection of non-public schools from excessive regulation,
- Protection of virtual learning experiences and course content that includes dimensions of faith,
- Providing for expanded science and technological learning opportunities,
- Safe and adequate transportation for all students, and
- An end to the state constitutional ban on aid to non-public schools.
Economic Justice and Regulatory Policies
- The allocation of scarce budget resources to preserve essential services for vulnerable persons,
- Affirmation of the recognized right to exercise religious conscience in the provision of publicly-funded services,
- Providing limited immunity for private human service providers for the provision of services otherwise provided by the state,
- Maintenance of the tax-exempt status for not-for-profit organizations,
- State identification card and drivers’ license policies that respect the dignity of residents who live in our State regardless of citizenship,
- Amending Michigan’s mandatory minimum sentencing statutes impacting juveniles and certain specific drug offenses,
- Affordable housing for low and moderate-income families and individuals,
- Affordable and accessible transportation options for low and moderate-income workers,
- Increasing the Unemployment Insurance multiplier, and
- Preservation of Consumer Choice regarding public utilities.
When addressing federal legislative issues, the Michigan Catholic Conference works in collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Only when the USCCB has taken a position on an issue will the MCC engage the Michigan congressional delegation.
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.
-- 30 --